Date: December 21, 2017
Host: Josh Matthews
In a concept that is likely to draw a lot of jokes, this is a Best Of 2017 show with part two to follow next week. In other words there’s nothing new this week and we’ll be looking at a bunch of matches and segments from throughout the year. It’s probably not going to help the already low audiences though, making this a potentially very bad idea. Let’s get to it.
Note that since I’ll be copying and pasting the original versions of these matches, you’ll be seeing the full recaps. The versions that air on the show will likely be heavily clipped.
We get a quick look at the history of the company, basically saying they’re always changing.
From March 9 (with nothing saying the show’s date).
Here’s Bruce Prichard (formerly known as Brother Love) for a chat. Josh: “THIS IS WORSE THAN JB! WHO DUG THIS GUY UP???” He doesn’t remember Impact Wrestling being this way because he remembers people wanting to be great. They were almost there but for whatever reason, it didn’t all happen. This is not a rib but TNA is DEAD.
There are new owners and management, which means we have a new name: Impact Wrestling. These new owners are looking for people who have achieved greatness in the past, like Prichard himself. He was around when names like Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and John Cena got their start so he knows greatness. Now he brings out Lashley, who talks about beating everyone put in front of him.
Cue Alberto El Patron, who the announcers put over as a big deal. Unfortunately the crowd doesn’t put him over as that big of a deal, though the SI chant is pretty loud. Alberto calls him a perro but here’s Ethan Carter III to cut him off. Carter wants a shot but Del Rio is given a title shot instead as Prichard can just make decisions like that.
Again from March 9.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Alberto El Patron vs. Lashley
Lashley is defending. Josh asks Pope if El Patron is going to be thrown off by the six sided ring but thankfully JB is there to say the six sided ring was invented in Mexico, meaning El Patron has a ton of experience. Pope gets in a good response by saying all the experience in the world doesn’t matter when you’re facing someone like Lashley. Nice little exchange there but it might be due to how horrible commentary has been all night.
Lashley takes him down in the corner to start and chokes with the boot before they head outside. Patron’s few strikes don’t work as Lashley knocks him outside again. A suplex gets two but it’s too early for the spear as Alberto dropkicks him down. The cross armbreaker over the ropes has Lashley in trouble and here Ethan Carter III to watch. Back from a break with Alberto making his comeback, only to have the ref get bumped.
Del Rio gets the cross armbreaker as a second referee comes in. Lashley powerbombs his way out of the hold (Pope: “HAYSTACKS CALHOUN WHAT A SLAM!”) and gets two off a spinebuster. The second referee is bumped and Lashley hits a second spinebuster. Lashley gets the belt but Alberto knocks it into the champ’s face for the pin and the title at 17:41.
Rating: D+. This was basically the WWE main event style and I’m really not wild about seeing that over and over again. It’s not a bad match or anything but having someone show up and win the title the night of their debut isn’t the best idea in the world, especially when it’s someone as uninteresting as Patron. At least the match was watchable though and Patron seems to be a face, which is the more interesting version.
The referees huddle and Lashley is livid as El Patron leaves to end the show. There’s a good chance that’s getting overturned.
Video on Alberto vs. Ethan Carter III.
Video on a variety of feuds, including Cody vs. Moose, Allie/Braxton Sutter vs. Laurel Van Ness and LAX vs. everyone.
Konnan and LAX promise violence.
From April 20.
X-Division Title: Trevor Lee vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. Suicide vs. Andrew Everett vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. ???
Lee is defending and this is one fall to a finish. The last entrant is…..Low Ki, who hasn’t been around here for about two years. Low Ki is in the suit and there are no tags here, as is usually the custom. Dutt grabs a tornado DDT on Xavier while walking across everyone else’s chest in something out of the Matrix. A six way standoff sees Lee get dropkicked out to the floor.
Dutt moonsaults onto Suicide and Everett before sending Lee face first into the apron. Xavier avoids a Low Ki charge and moonsaults onto the pile as we take a break. Back with Everett taking the standing chest stomp from Lee. Trevor throws everyone out as Dutt seems to have an eye injury.
Things slow down a bit as Josh clarifies his status: “I said I’d leave. I left for a week and now I’m back.” Lee keeps throwing people out until Everett Pele’s him. We get a parade of kicks, including Xavier hitting a 619 around the post to Ki’s ribs. Dutt’s top rope splash gets two and Suicide does the fall onto everyone else. We’re officially in an overrun because we’re “LIVE” and you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Everett dives onto everyone but Xavier breaks up the shooting star. With Xavier on top, Everett tries a springboard reverse hurricanrana but only gets his legs on Xavier’s back. Thankfully Xavier lands on his feet instead of actually taking the move. Everett hits the Frankendriver on Lee, only to have Ki kick him to the floor. A top rope double stomp to Trevor gives Ki the title at 19:00.
Rating: C+. That would be annual “See, we care about the X-Division” match. I’ve never been a Low Ki fan and I’m even less of a fan of these multi-man cluster matches as they’re just a bunch of people doing spots until the final spot. On top of that, while it’s very nice to see some fresh blood, I’m so glad TNA wasted our time with the Everett vs. Lee story because HERE’S A BIG MULTI-MAN MATCH INSTEAD! The match was fun but it felt like a longer version of something we’ve seen many times before, which isn’t what the X-Division needs.
The announcers bicker again and Pope walks off. JB punches Josh to end the show.
From April 27.
Tag Team Titles: Decay vs. LAX
LAX is defending and this is a street fight. It’s a brawl to start (as it should be) with Decay getting the better of it, including Abyss taking both champs down with a double clothesline. The barbed wire board is thrown in and it’s off to a break. Back with a large selection of weapons in the ring and Homicide hitting Abyss in the back with a chair.
It’s time for the kendo stick shots to the back as the champs keep dominating. Abyss saves Steve from a double superplex and throws him onto both champs. A chokeslam gets no cover so Abyss pelts a chair at Ortiz’s head. Rosemary mists Abyss by mistake though, allowing Santana to spear him through a barbed wire board. Diamante German suplexes Rosemary and Abyss is sandwiched between two barbed wire boards.
Steve comes back in though and gets two off a Death Valley Driver with Konnan making the save. Thankfully Steve doesn’t bother with Konnan but he does have to deal with Homicide. That goes nowhere so Steve puts Ortiz on a table and covers him with tacks, only to have Homicide make another save. The Street Sweeper through the table retains the titles at 13:37.
Rating: C+. Good brawl with the ending looking better than anything else, though it wasn’t much of a surprise to have LAX win. They’re a better team than I thought we were going to get so the tag division is starting to look good for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately that’s it for Decay as Steve is WWE bound but at least Decay was fun while they lasted.
Video on the India tour, including Dutt vs. Low Ki.
X-Division Title: Sonjay Dutt vs. Low Ki
Dutt is challenging and still has his eyepatch on. A hard body shot puts Dutt down because he couldn’t see it coming thanks to the bad eye. The patch is pulled off and Dutt snaps off a hurricanrana into an armdrag. A dropkick sends Dutt to the floor and they fight into the crowd where Dutt has to escape a Ki Crusher.
Sonjay mostly misses a moonsault off the barricade but what looked to be Sliced Bread #2 is countered with a drop onto the steps. Back from a break with Low Ki stomping away and grabbing something like an abdominal stretch/Octopus Hold hybrid. Dutt fights out and Low Ki takes off the jacket, earning himself a great looking superplex.
Low Ki breaks up a sunset flip and snaps off a standing double stomp for two. A tornado DDT drops the champ (who has a bloody eye) and a top rope splash gives Dutt the title at 16:28. The commentary was rather horrible there as they barely reacted to either the setup or the title change.
Rating: B. Well that was sudden. There wasn’t exactly much of a build to the finish but at least they went with exactly what they should have done. This was the biggest layup of the entire taping cycle and they did exactly what they should have done without trying for some kind of a screwy finish.
Some wrestlers come out to celebrate with Dutt, including Shera putting him on his shoulders to end the show.
Josh wraps it up.
Overall Rating: C. I never know how to grade a Best Of show so we’ll go right in the middle. Above all else, the show really just illustrated how much things have changed in the last few months. Look around at what was going on in the first six months and compare it to now. It’s staggering how much different everything is in such a short amount of time.
The lack of a Knockouts match surprised me, but what didn’t surprise me was the company managing to botch something else: when they would jump to matches, many of them were joined in mid-SENTENCE. I know this company has no budget but they can’t even find someone to say “hey, maybe we should add an extra second to this so it doesn’t sound so weird”. At the end of the day, TNA is TNA and there’s no way around it.
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